John J. McDonough

Chair, Strategic Risk & Complex Litigation Practice
Vice Chair, Global Insurance Department

New York

(212) 908-1226

(212) 509-9492

A nationally known trial attorney, John represents major corporations and high-net-worth individuals in their most consequential disputes. Over four decades of practice, he has taken more than 200 cases to trial, litigated before a wide variety of courts and administrative agencies nationwide, faced highly accomplished plaintiffs’ counsel, and won verdicts valued at nine and ten digits. His track record of trial victories and favorable settlements is such that the country’s most sophisticated clients request John’s participation when excellence is absolutely required.  John is vice chair of the Global Insurance Department at Cozen O'Connor and is chair of the Strategic Risk and Complex Litigation group.

The global head of claims for one of the world’s largest insurers appointed John to serve on an elite task force of just seven trial attorneys who lead the company’s most critical litigation. High-net-worth individuals and celebrities hire John to resolve private commercial litigation when confidentiality and discretion are nearly as important as the ultimate resolution.

Working as a trial lawyer and dispute strategist, John has accrued deep substantive knowledge of a multitude of legal practices, including:

  • Product liability
  • Director and officer liability
  • Construction
  • Environmental law and toxic torts
  • Life sciences 
  • Medical device 
  • Technology and cyber
  • Complex insurance and reinsurance
  • Sports and equestrian law  
  • Entertainment
  • Personal and brain injury
  • Defamation

His highest accolades are his verdicts, but John has also been publicly recognized by his peers as a leader in the field. He is an ALM New York Top-Rated Lawyer, a Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent attorney, and a fellow in the invitation-only Litigation Counsel of America.

John is the former president of the Defense Association of New York (DANY), has edited its quarterly journal for more than 20 years, and received DANY’s James S. Conway Award for Outstanding Service to the Defense Profession in 2013. He is a member of the Product Liability Advisory Council, a prestigious organization of leading manufacturers and hand-selected top product liability defense counsel.

An active author and lecturer, John speaks regularly to such groups as the Defense Research Institute (DRI), New York State Bar Association Torts, Insurance and Compensation Law Section, and American Conference Institute. He is widely published in the lay press and law journals and is a frequently cited source in Businessweek, The New York Times, and the New York Law Journal.

John is an alumni of St. John’s Preparatory School in Danvers, MA, and serves on the Trustee Advisory Board and the Advancement Committee. John earned a B.A. from Boston College and his J.D. from New England School of Law.

Experience

News

Cozen O’Connor Announces Changes to Firm Management 2022

March 23, 2022

Cozen O’Connor is pleased to announce the following changes in firm leadership positions for the 2022 year.

More Than 200 Cozen O’Connor Attorneys Named Best Lawyers and Ones to Watch By The Best Lawyers In America

August 20, 2020

Best Lawyers selected 201 Cozen O’Connor lawyers from 23 of the firm’s nationwide offices for inclusion in the 2021 edition of The Best Lawyers in America© (Copyright 2020 by Woodward/White, Inc., of Aiken, SC).

138 Cozen O’Connor Attorneys Named to the Best Lawyers in America

August 28, 2019

Best Lawyers selected 138 Cozen O’Connor lawyers from 21 of the firm’s national offices for inclusion in the 2020 edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

126 Cozen O’Connor Attorneys Named to the Best Lawyers in America

August 22, 2018

One hundred twenty-six Cozen O’Connor lawyers from 20 of the firm’s national offices have been selected for inclusion in the 2018 edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

100 Cozen O’Connor Lawyers Named to the Best Lawyers in America

August 23, 2017

Lawyers were selected for inclusion in the 2018 edition based on a rigorous peer-review that has been developed and defined for more than 30 years.

Publications

The Vanishing Jury Trial Part III [Defendant]

January 01, 2017

John McDonough, vice chair of Cozen O'Connor's Commercial Litigation department, writes his third installment to 'The Vanishing Jury Trial' in Defendant.

The Vanishing Jury Trial Part II [Defendant]

April 01, 2016

John McDonough, vice chair of Cozen O'Connor's Commercial Litigation department, discusses the second part of his 'Vanishing Jury Trial' series in Defendant.

The Vanishing Jury Trial [Defendant]

January 01, 2016

John McDonough, vice chair of Cozen O'Connor's Commercial Litigation department, discusses the vanishing jury trial in Defendant.

Events & Seminars

Past Events

Combating the Anchoring Effect

February 24, 2022 - Webinar

Speed Dating on Construction

June 24, 2021 - Webinar

Pandemic Litigation Trends

September 16, 2020 - Webinar

Critical Issues in Litigation – 2016

November 03, 2016 - New York, NY

Harco Verdict Impact on Construction Industry

July 27, 2016 - New York, NY

Education

  • New England School of Law, J.D., 1979
  • Boston College, B.A., 1976

Awards & Honors

  • Senior Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America 
  • DANY James S. Conway Award for Outstanding Service to the Defense Profession
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Attorney, 2013-2021
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Attorney - Judicial Edition, 2017-2020
  • Irish Legal 100, 2015-2019
  • Best Lawyers in America, 2018-2021
  • The American Lawyer & Corporate Counsel: 2020 Top Rated Litigator 
  • America's Most Honored Lawyers, 2016-2020
  • Martindale-Hubbell Top Rated Lawyers in Litigation
  • ALM New York Top Rated Lawyer
  • CLM, Certified Litigation Management Professional
  • Massachusetts
  • New York
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • U.S. District Court -- Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court -- Southern District of New York
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • Product Liability Advisory Council
  • Defense Research Institute
  • The Defense Association of New York
  • Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel
  • Member, Claims and Litigation Management Alliance 
  • HeartShare St. Vincent's Services
  • New York City Bar Association
  • The Charitable Irish Society
  • Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA)
  • American Board of Trial Advocates, Advocate
  • Member, Trial Law Institute
  • Member, Diversity Law Institute
  • Barrister, Order of Centurions
  • Advocate, Order of Certus